If you're like me, despite having cheap or even free access to cloud compute, you still want to have a bit of compute in a home lab. I can create and destroy to my hearts content. Things can get weird and messy - and it's nobodys problem but my own.
For the past 10 years, my home lab has consisted of a couple 2U Dell R710 servers. They are were beefy in specs but they are very loud and consume a relatively large amount of power and space. They have served me really well over the years but it is finally time to upgrade.
I ordered an Intel NUC last year. It should be able to handle the workload I'm running on my Dell servers with room to spare. Due to supply chain issues, it took a few months but it finally arrived. I was extremely surprised at how small these are. I knew they were small but I did not expect it to fit in the palm of my hand!
I threw on VMware ESXi 7 for the hypervisor but I wanted to document the build for anyone who is building up a similar setup as I encountered a couple issues during my installation.
Here is my complete parts list:
2x Kingston 32GB DDR4 3200MHz SODIMM
1TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe
I did document this in a video but this article also serves as a companion to that since there is a lot of commands involved.
I immediately found out that because the network card on the NUC does not have a compatible driver included on the ESXi 7 image, I had to create an ISO with the Community Network Driver (Fling).
HOWEVER vmware.powercli and vmware.imagebuilder modules for Powershell is not supported on Powershell v6 and above which meant I could not run these commands on my Mac. Luckily, I had a Windows box kicking around with Powershell v5.
After all that, I was able to proceed with building the image. The steps were pretty close to what is in the Virten article however the version of ESXi they used was pulled and replaced. I ended up with a different build which is reflected with the file names I used.
Note: If you encounter the following error: "windowspowershell\modules\vmware.vimautomation.sdk\18.104.22.16893564\vmware.vimautomation.sdk.psm1 cannot be loaded because running scripts is disabled on this system" you may need to enter the following command: